This post is sponsored by Harris Teeter, but all opinions expressed here are my own.
When you’re on a budget, keeping costs down is essential. You still have to eat, though, making food one of the largest household expenses. However, there are ways to keep the food bill in control. So when Harris Teeter threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to create a five-day meal plan for a family of four for just $10 a day ($50 total) using mostly—if not all—Harris Teeter private-label products, I was totally up for the challenge!
To stay inside this modest budget requires planning, utilizing each ingredient to it’s fullest potential, and including ingredients that are always inexpensive, like beans, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Outside of that, further tailor your weekly budget around the sales flyer or weekly store ad for meats and produce. Use produce that is “in season” as these are usually less expensive than out of season vegetables. Finally, use the items you purchase in a variety of ways to create different flavor combinations from the same list of ingredients. Remember that some produce items, like onions and potatoes, which are less expensive sold in bulk, will last two weeks so we can spread the savings even further. By the end of the week, we will have exhausted our entire food allowance with the exception of 3 onions and about 1 pound of potatoes.
This week at my local Harris Teeter, packages of 80% lean hamburger were on sale (2 lbs for $6.97 or $3.49/lb), as well as, bone-in chicken breasts (buy one get one free making it $1.35/lb), chicken thighs ($1.77/lb), and chicken drumsticks ($1.77/lb). Manager’s Special – not published in the weekly ad/sales flyer chicken leg quarters (leg-thigh combos) were just $0.79 /lb! Comparison shopping for the best deals provided me with the biggest overall savings in my weekly food budget. I’m already a VIC member (their savings program called Very Important Customer) but by going online and signing up to become an eVic member, I saved an addition $0.30 per dozen eggs I purchased. That’s an extra $0.60 back into my budget!
So before we get down to it, it’s also worth mentioning that under the guidelines set forth by Harris Teeter, I am allowed to assume that the average family has a set of basic spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cinnamon, etc.), condiments (like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, honey and pancake syrup, etc.), and common household pantry items (like lemon juice, vegetable oil, olive oil, all purpose flour, brown sugar etc.).
I’ve made special annotations in my spending allowance noting what items were on sale. Most, if not all, products were the Harris Teeter private-label brand. The Harris Teeter private-label products are of high quality and backed by a “money back guarantee” – so there is no sacrifice in flavor or quality – just a better price. I do often shop the Harris Teeter private-labels whenever I can and feel the quality is just as good as compared to other leading national brands.
Now – here’s our meal plan:
Day 1 –
Breakfast: Yogurt with Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Granola (Museli) topped with sliced banana
Lunch: Hummus without Tahini (makes enough for 12 servings) Sandwich with lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes served with a side of carrot sticks. Look for the recipe at the bottom of this post!
Dinner: Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
Breakfast: Baked Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal (makes enough for two meals) topped with 1/2 banana
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches with lettuce (makes enough for two meals) with a side of carrot sticks
Dinner: Shepards Pie
Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait with Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Granola (Museli), topped with sliced banana
Lunch: Hummus without Tahini Sandwich with lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes served with a side of carrot sticks
Dinner: Vegetable Fritatta (makes enough for 8 servings or 2 full meals), home-style hash browns, with a fresh tomato & cucumber salad with lemon vinaigrette
Breakfast: (Leftover) Baked Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal topped with 1/2 banana
Lunch: Leftover Egg Salad Sandwiches with lettuce (makes enough for two meals) with a side of carrot sticks
Dinner: Instant Pot Chicken & Dumplings
Breakfast: Leftover Vegetable Frittata with 2 slices of toast
Lunch: (Leftover) Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings, (last serving) Hummus without Tahini (Demo below) with a side of carrot sticks
Here is our cost breakdown for the week:
|1||(32 ounces) container HT Plain Yogurt||$1.99|
|1||(40 ounces) container HT Old Fashioned Oats||$2.00||on sale|
|1||(15 ounce) box HT Raisins||$2.19|
|4||HT Split Chicken Breasts ($2.69/lb)||$7.03||on sale BOGO making it $1.35/lb|
|1||(2-lb) package of HT 80% lean Hamburger meat||$6.97||on sale|
|2||(dozen) HT Large eggs||$1.34||on sale eVic ($0.67)|
|1||(half gallon) HT Milk||$1.99|
|3||Heads Iceburg Lettuce||$3.00|
|5||Tomatoes on the Vine||$2.60||$1.49/lb On sale|
|1||(8 pounds) HT Russet Potatoes||$2.79|
|2||(20 ounce) loaves HT Sandwich bread||$1.98||Store brand white sandwich bread is $0.99/loaf. **chance to save even more**|
|2||(2 pound) bags of HT Carrots||$1.98|
|1||(15 ounces) can HT Garbonzo Beans||$0.69|
|1||(bag) HT Frozen French Style Green Beans||$1.50||on sale (normally $1.69 each)|
|2||(bags) HT Frozen Mixed Vegetables||$3.00||on sale (normally $1.69 each)|
|1||(16 ounces) Box HT Spaghetti or other pasta||$0.99|
|1||(24 ounces) jar HT Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce||$1.48|
|1||(3 pounds) bag yellow onions||$1.29|
Ways you can SAVE BIG at Harris Teeter:
- Create meal plans around ingredients that are typically inexpensive, like rice, potatoes, pasta and beans to stretch your $$.
- Shop the sale flyer for meats, seafood, and produce! Look for Manager’s specials or other unpublished specials throughout the store.
- Check out digital store coupons and load them to your Vic card.
- Sign up to become an eVic member and gets special savings at the store and alerts delivered right to your email.
- Comparison shop – Harris Teeter private label products are usually the best deal — but not always.
- Harris Teeter doubles coupons! Manufacturer coupons 99¢ and under are doubled at the register! All day every day! Limit: 20 coupons per person and per VIC per day.
Easy Classic Hummus without Tahini:
Prepackaged hummus is expensive. A 10.0-ounce tub (1 1/4 cups) will set you back about $3.99. Quite expensive for a simple dip comprised of beans pureed with simple pantry ingredients. I think we can help you do much better. Come into my kitchen and let me show you how!
Start by pureeing the beans, then drizzle in some water and a little olive oil. Next, add salt and pepper, minced (or powdered garlic), and lemon juice. To further spice it up, consider adding some cumin if you have it on hand, a dash of paprika, and some red chili pepper flakes.
Just before serving, drizzle with some additional olive oil, and red chili pepper flakes. Serve with vegetable sticks, pita bread pieces, pita chips, or pretzels. Hummus is also great on sandwiches, wraps, and pitas. My favorite use is as a spread on a vegetable sandwich consisting of lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. If I have it on hand, a few small pieces of feta cheese and olives make a great lunch.
Hummus without Tahini
- 15 oz garbanzo beans , (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 4 to 6 tablespoons water
- 2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt , to 1/2 tsp to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika , to 1/2 tsp to taste
- red pepper (chili) flakes, to taste (optional)
- Add the garbanzo beans, 4 tablespoons of water, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, to a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. If needed, add additional water or oil to thin out the hummus as desired. Add salt, paprika, and red (chili) pepper flakes to your desired taste preference.
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Many of the ingredients will depend on how thick or thin you like your hummus. You can add flavor using simple spices or herbs you have on hand.